March 14, 2010

God's Beloved

Sunday morning, waiting for a shirt I want to wear to church to finish washing so I can put it in the dryer. I Have gone through facebook/twitter/bloglines and I am all caught up. Decided I would check in here, not too much going on. Photographed my last wedding yesterday for a wonderful couple who are beloved in our church. It was a hoot of a wedding the officiants did a great job of keeping us all between laughing and crying. Wishing Danny and Angela the great adventure of marriage and may they always put the other first and God in front.

I am reading The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen right now. This book (along with all of his other writings) are not to be rushed through. There is a jewel of discipleship, sonship, humility in every sentence. The Rembrandt painting of the Prodigal Son Returns is the focus of where Henri's thoughts in this book are drawn from. I not only have gained a greater understanding about the story of the Prodigal Son but also of the painting itself. Each time I read Nouwen I can't believe it took me this long to read his books. I can see places in my life where this book would have journeyed along side me in my return to my Father, helping me gently along the way, filling me with the truth of being His beloved when I wanted to believe otherwise. The words in this book have given me a gift of the love of the Father. Something that each day Satan would have us all believe that we are not worthy of, but are lies that we don't have to believe. The Return of the Prodigal Son is a gift, from God to Henri and from Henri to us.

Here is a paragraph that I have underlined in the book: pg. 47

"When the younger son was no longer considered a human being by the people around him, he felt the profundity of his isolation, the deepest loneliness one can experience. He was truly lost, and it was this complete lostness that brought him to his senses. He was shocked into the awareness of his utter alienation and suddenly understood that he had embarked on the road to death. He had become so disconnected from what gives life-family, friends, community, acquaintances, and even food-that he realized that death would be the natural next step. All at once he saw clearly the path he had chosen and where it would lead him; he understood his own death choice; and he knew that one more step in the direction he was going would take him to self-destruction.
In that critical moment, what was it that allowed him to opt for life? It was the rediscovery of his deepest self."

How does Henri Nouwen know what was in my mind that morning almost 20 years ago. How does he know that I had a realization that I had found myself alone, in the midst of community. How did he know that I realized that the path I had chosen was a path that had no sustainable life in it. It was a path that journeyed me farther and farther away from everything that gave me light and life. And it was in that very moment that my reality shook me and opened my eyes to see that God Himself was all I had, and God Himself was all I needed. The Creator of the Universe was calling me and holding out his hand waiting just for me to place my hand in His. And when I did, things changed. The hopelessness turned into hope, the despair turned into possibilities, the weary traveller finally had a new direction to walk. For me it took the bottom of a pit to come to my senses, but I wouldn't trade that dirt and mud for anything because it was in that place that for the first time I realized who I was, I was God's beloved.